Horizontal Stab 2:00

I’ve heard that the secret to completing a large build like this is to spend at least 5 minutes a day in the shop. Well I have some lost time to make up. I lined up the hinge to connect the elevator to the horizontal stabilizer, clamped and drilled the holes. Then I spent a lot of time up-drilling the skin. That was a lot of holes and moving the clecos got tedious. I changed hands on the pliers many times. I’m well on my way to Popeye arms. I always think the skin looks cool when you put the #30 clecos in place and before you remove the #40 clecos. Right now I only have 200 #30 and 200 #40 clecos, and I’m using every one of them. I should really order more.


Contacted Sonex

I sent an email to Sonex tech help to let them know that I went ahead and just made up some ribs from sheet AL to fix my problem. That’s when I found out that Sonex has the SNX-Z02-04 channel they could have sent me. Well, live and learn. Apparently the  older kits were supplied with it before they produced the laser cut option.

Just to be clear my tail kit was one of the first laser cut kits supplied so I don’t expect to have these problems on the rest of the kit that I purchased this year.

Good news though, Sonex confirmed I had the skins on correctly. the straight edge of the skins for the horizontal stabilizer is the bottom and the curved edge is the top.

Time to rivet.

Horizontal Stabilizer 4:00

Well I spent most of the weekend with family, but when I got home on Sunday, I spent a few hours working on the Horizontal Stabilizer. I up drill and riveted the frame. Then deburred the skins and clecoed them on. Short summary for what was 4 hours of work.

I’m very happy with how the four home made ribs came out. The pre-drilled holes in the skin lined right down the center of the ribs. Drilling and clecoing the skin down was uneventful. I just hope I didn’t install the skins upside down. I figure if there is a way to build it backwards. I’ll do it… Then do it again. Sigh.

Fabricating T04-03 T04-04 4:00

Well the plan WAS to build this plane from a kit. Looks like I found an excuse to make some parts anyways. I didn’t like the idea of using rivet washers or replacing a perfectly serviceable completed forward spar held in place with almost 30 rivets for a rib that would be so easily created and replaced.

Aircraft Spruce is awesome! The materials I ordered got here fast and were packaged extremely well. All parts were taped to pine furring strips and were in great shape.

I checked the plans for the channel parts used to make T04-03 and T04-04. Then went to cutting. Just after making the first cut, I remembered that sheet AL has a grain, and I just cut it wrong. O well, I continued to make the part. I figure it will be good practice for when I cut the AL correctly.

I cut some scrap wood to size and bolted the AL to the wood. It worked, but not well. Glad this was just a trial piece anyways.

Then I realized that I needed to sandwich the AL between two templates. The second attempt came out much better. I’m happy with the results. The bends are not quite as crisp as the factory made parts, but they look pretty good.

From the pictures, if it wasn’t for the holes in the flange you couldn’t tell my parts from the factory parts.


I couldn’t help myself, I had to install the parts. So happy to be moving forward on the build again.


I still have not completed inventory, but building is so much more fun!

Sonex Tech Help

I received a response from Sonex today. I sent pictures of my work on the horizontal stabilizer and they verified I’m on the right path. As for the pre-drilled holes not lining up, Sonex believed the holes were not off significantly and drilling them out would result in a slightly enlarged hole in the rib flange. I could then make a rivet washer out of .025 or .032 material and put that behind the rib for the rivet head to capture. Then add one more hole between each of the rivets in the rib.

The other option was for Sonex to send out replacement forward spar channels. The forward spar channels are held in place with 27 rivets each. I’m concerned that drilling them out could result in enlarging even more holes.

So today I placed an order for a sheet .025 6061T6 from AircraftSpruce. It was only $10. I figure I can try and make my own ribs that will have the holes exactly where I need them. I’m not happy with the placement of the hing on the rudder anyways, so I’ll order a new hing as well.

Sonex Kit – 3:00

IMG_0428Today the rest of my kit arrived. That is a lot of parts. We had to break it down just to get it out of the truck. Once out of the truck the pallet was too heavy to carry into my garage so we ended up taking apart the pallet on the sidewalk and hand carry

IMG_0446ing in each part. The guys at Sonex do a gret job at packing. It really is impressive. Phew that was a lot of work. Did I mention it was 95 out and so humid you could drink the air. Jes helped a lot! Even My girls got into the action. It may be a while before I can park my car in the garage again. IMG_0457 I ran through the inventory for the boxes 1 of 6 and the pallet. So far it appears as if I have received 16 rather than 8 of each SNX-W15-06 and SNX-W15-07. Hard to complain about receiving too many parts. I’m going to wait and see if I just miss read the inventory list.



Response from Sonex

I received almost an immediate response from Kerry at Sonex. It seems that the laser cut parts have a slightly different hole spacing than the plans. 11/32″ is the correct hole spacing, so the main spar is correct and the ribs are incorrect. Sonex is sending out new ribs. Phew, I was worried I would have to rebuild the main spar.

Horizontal Stabilizer – 2:30

I riveted the SNX-T03-01 Main Spar together. Then started in on the Front Spar. Assembled, drilled and deburred. Riveting this part was a bit more difficult. I ended up needing to remove the CCP 46 rivets out of T06-06 (both of them) due to direction I installed the rivets. I’ll have to order more rivets as I only have one left.

I started in on assembling the horizontal stabilizer and almost immediately ran into a snag. The holes do not line up with the parts T03-04 and the Main Spar on either side. Its the same story for part T03-03.

Going back to the plans, the holes in the main spar channel call for 13/32” from the side. The laser cut holes were punched at 21/64” on each side. I checked the ribs and they were correctly cut at 13/32”. I’ll contact Sonex tomorrow. Hopefully I will not have to replace the channel, there are a lot of rivets holding it to the Main Spar Fitting.